Brussels, 6 March 2018.
During the annual Aviation Summit, organized by Airlines for Europe (A4E) at the prestigious Concert Noble in Brussels today, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr, who is also the outgoing chairman of the EU Airline Lobbying outfit A4E, complained about the rising costs related to complying with EU Regulation 261, which ensures passenger rights.
Claiming that the Regulation needs urgent revision, Mr. Spohr accused the EU Council (the collective of EU Member States) of holding the file hostage over a dispute regarding Gibraltar. According to the CEO, Courts and Judges across the EU apply the Regulation differently, which creates uncertainty and brings about large costs.
The members of the Association of Passenger Rights Advocates (APRA), however, see a different reality – the Regulation works very well indeed. Any discrepancies that may have existed in the past as regards the application of certain aspects of the Regulation, have been clarified by the European Court of Justice (EJC) by means of preliminary and other rulings, leaving nothing to the imagination by consistently ruling in favor of consumer protection. The European Commission has acted in accordance with the ECJ by developing a set of clear guidelines, which Courts in all EU countries are asked to apply.
If complying with EU law by paying passengers what they are owed is seen by the airlines as ‘growing compliance costs’, we can only conclude that the Passenger Rights Regulation is in fact working and it is working even better than it has in the past, based on consistent rulings and guidelines.
APRA supports Regulation 261/2004 and strives for maximum passenger protection.